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Sports - page 51

12U second to no one

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The Kaneland Knights 12U baseball team swept the Yorkville Fury Summer Classic Tournament last month to take first place. Coaches: Mike Noel, Mike Romas, Kevin Gomes and Mike Berens. Top row (left to right): Josh Marczuk, Jack Douglas, Dylan Baker, Austin Berens, Trevor Jones, Michael Rivas-Vera. Bottom row (left to right): Colin Noel, Brennan Hare, Jake Romas, Luke Gomes and Reece Sowell. vCourtesy Photo

Xplosion go unbeaten in Lemont

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LEMONT—The KC Xplosion Girls traveled back to Lemont for four games in the Jim Didi Memorial College Showcase Tournament, finishing 3-0-1. The girls outscored their opponents 39-6. Samantha Phelps led the way with a .786 batting average Including six doubles, followed by Allison Miller (.400) and Kaylee Hayton (.333). Lauren Zick scored eight runs, and Emma Spagnola added another five. Kaylee Hayton and Stephanie Prentice split the 26 innings in the circle and combined for a 1.08 ERA, giving up 11 hits and recording 24 strikeouts. On Sunday, the girls travel to Nebraska to compete in the ASA Northern Nationals.

If you would like to become a part of the Xplosion for the 2012 fall and 2013 Summer Season, visit www.kcxplosion.com for information.

Knights road ends with loss in St. Charles

in Baseball by

Photo: Tyler Carlson holds off on a pitch in the dirt. File Photo

KANELAND—After traveling for summer league regional wins over rivals out west, it was the closest opponent that proved damaging.

In the summer regional hosted by St. Charles East High School, the semifinal matchup went to the host Saints, as they pounded the Kaneland crew by a final of 11-0 in five innings on July 17.

Kaneland had successful trips to Machesney Park to beat Harlem, 6-1, on July 15, and Rock Island by a 6-5 tab.

St. Charles East, the fifth seed, defeated Marmion Academy and Geneva in the opening two rounds.

Kaneland ended its summer campaign at 15-13.

Kaneland saw pivotal contributions from John Hopkins and Blake Sowell on the mound during league play, and Zach Martinelli, Tyler Carlson, Joe Komel and Joe Pollastrini at the plate during the summer.

The Saints then lost to Crystal Lake South in the regional final on Thursday, with the Gators going to the Elite 8 in Naperville after a 20-7 win.

Kaneland Travel Baseball gearing up in 2013

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KANELAND—The Kaneland Travel Baseball (KTB) program, which will begin in the summer of 2013, has released its tryout dates and information for the 11U, 12U and 13U travel baseball teams that will compete in the KCBL next year, with a birthday cut-off day of May 1. Beginning with the summer of 2014, the KTB will incorporate 10U and 14U for a total of five levels of travel baseball.

The following information is for those tryouts: Friday, July 27: 11U—4:30 to 6:30 p.m., 12U—5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 13U—6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Wheeler Park, Sugar Grove). Friday, Aug. 3: 11U—5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 12U 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Wheeler Park, Sugar Grove). Saturday, Aug. 4: 13U—9:30 to 11:30 a.m. (McNair Field, Elburn). Sunday, Aug. 12: 11U, 12U, 13U—1 to 3 p.m. ( McNair Field, Elburn).

This is for anyone at any of the age levels that couldn’t make the other tryout dates. There will be a pre-registration form posted on the Kaneland Travel Baseball website, www.kanelandtravelbaseball.com. These tryouts are only open to those students who will go to Kaneland High School and reside in the district. If you have any questions, contact coach Brian Aversa at Brian.Aversa@kaneland.org.

Big Rock gathering baseball talent

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BIG ROCK—Cobras 11U Baseball Team is an independent organization from the Hinckley-Big Rock area. The 2013 11U team is looking to add players for the 2013 season. The team plays in three or four tournaments (35-game schedule) in 2013. Tryouts are on Saturday, July 28, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Plowman’s Park in Big Rock.

Contact Scott Swanson at (630) 768-3009 or Dennis Flanagan at (630) 391-8413.

Take Route 30 west to Big Rock. Turn south on Rhodes and go south to 2nd Street. Turn west on 2nd Street (becomes Hinckley Road), to the fairgrounds.

Wasco fastpitch holds registration

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WASCO—Wasco Girls Fastpitch, with registration ending Tuesday, July 31, is a recreational softball league open to all area girls, grades kindergarten through 12th grade. Games are played only on Saturdays at the home fields. Practices start in mid-August with games starting Saturday, Aug. 25 and conclude with the Susan G. Komen tournaments mid-October. Wasco also offers Fall Ball Training Camps, but space is limited. Players may download a registration form, register online at www.wascofastpitch.com or call the hotline at (630) 513-1200. Fees are the same regardless of where you live—no “out-of-district” fees.

We’re No. 1

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The KC Xplosion 98 Girls Fastpitch Softball Team is the 2012 Chicago Bandits Experience 14U—Omaha, Neb. Tournament Champions. This year’s team consited of Coaches Tim Krantz (back, left to right), Artie Cohrs, Rick Lovestrand and Bob Cruz. Annika Radabaugh (middle, left to right), Maddie Rydholm, Natalie Offutt, Maddie Webb, Toni Galas, Bailee Krantz and Rachael Lovestrand. Brieann Cruz (front, left to right), Kaitlyn Plocinski, Meg Cohrs, Sarah Baurer and Aly Snider. Courtesy Photo

A family affair

in Community Sports by

Photo: Coach Jim Gussman (left to right), Colin Gussman, Austin Parks and Coach Beau Parks. Courtesy Photo

The Knights Wrestling Club, Kaneland’s youth wrestling program, on July 13 sent two wrestlers to the Midwest Army Nationals Wrestling Tournament hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.

Colin Gussmanm of Oswego, Ill., and Austin Parks of Maple Park were part of an estimated 900-plus participants. Colin, who will be a second-year senior-level club wrestler, was bracketed in the 121.6 pound division. Austin, who just finished his club career and is an incoming freshman wrestler for Kaneland High School, was bracketed in the 145 pound division and took third place.

Both boys were lucky enough to have their fathers, Jim Gussman and Beau Parks, coach them through this tournament.

Wielding the hammer: Dyer goes National

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland junior Nate Dyer brandishes the medals from recent competition under the USA Track and Field banner. Dyer is bringing talent in four events to the National Junior Olympics in Baltimore. Courtesy Photo

State and Regional totals pay off for junior Olympic-bound athlete
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One would think that a summer full of footballs and pads would be enough for an ordinary student.

With incoming KHS junior Nate Dyer, there are qualifying factors, however.

Dyer is also dealing in hammers, javelins, shots and discs, and he’s putting up an effort that is extraordinary.

Dyer, who as an impressive aside, qualified for the IHSA Class 2A Track and Field meet in shot and discus, is set to compete at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.

The week-long fest occurs from Tuesday, July 23, through Monday, July 29.

Dyer’s showing at Franklin University’s Regional Junior Olympics in Franklin, Ind., (July 7-8), that included first places in both the hammer throw and shot put, and second places in the discus and javelin, allowed him to make plans to travel with his family to the athletic showcase on the east coast.

Dyer won’t be intimidated.

“Once you get there, it’s more doing what you’re comfortable with,” Dyer said. “You don’t want to try and change up stuff.”

Dyer, who first qualified for the National stage in 2010, made headway in the State Junior Olympics held in Kankakee, Ill., back on June 22-24.

All he did there was take first in the javelin and shot put, plus set the state record in the hammer throw by 19 feet.

That high trajectory of performance is not just sheer talent, as Dyer knows the value of taking mentors advice to heart.

“I listen to all the coaches in every sport and what they tell me,” Dyer said. “A big influence is usually my dad, and he researches a lot. He never played, what I played but he’s organized and looks into details, and that helps. I never have to worry.”

Dyer’s numbers in regionals took place against other elite athletes from Illinois and Indiana in Region 7. He was sponsored by DeKalb Huskies track.

The Knight athlete can expect big things against competitors from the other 49 states if he can duplicate a similar outcome in an event like the shot put, which saw him ace the grouping by three-and-a-half feet.

“There is kind of a lot of pressure. The first year that I did this, I didn’t really know much about it, but I ended up throwing almost 160 with the little disc and placed third two years ago, and we have expectations,” Dyer said.

Next year’s USATF elite national gathering is set for Greensboro, NC, on the campus of North Carolina A&T University, but Dyer elects to attack what’s in front of him at the moment.

For now, that’s javelin marks, followed by Northern Illinois Big XII ball-carriers.

“Once I get through State and Regionals, there’s more competition,” Dyer said. “I just try to qualify and get the job done.”

KHS baseball in regional semi

in Baseball by

Photo: Joe Komel, handling first base duties for Kaneland High School’s summer league squadron, is shown moving toward home with the ball in play during last week’s action in Batavia.The summer homestretch began on Monday with a 6-1 win over Harlem High School on Monday. File Photo

KANELAND—It’s not the spring athletic season, but there’s still things to play for if your Kaneland High School baseball.

The Knight boys played a 26-game summer season before entering regional action, hosted by St. Charles East High School.

Things are looking up for the KHS lineup, as the ninth-seeded local outfit earned a 6-1 win over Machesney Park’s Harlem Huskies on Monday—a win over the eighth seed.

Kaneland followed that up with a 6-5, nine-inning win over the the top seed Rock Island Rocks on Tuesday afternoon.

It was set to lead to a battle in the summer regional semifinal at St. Charles East High School on Wednesday against the host Saints.

St. Charles East is the fifth seed and had victories over Marmion Academy and Geneva as notches in the belt.

Matt Limbrunner and Blake Sowell earned the wins this week.

Big Rock area gathering baseball talent

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BIG ROCK—Cobras 11U Baseball Team is an independent organization from the Hinckley-Big Rock area and surrounding communities. The 2013 11U team is looking to add players for the 2013 season. The team plays in three or four tournaments (35-game schedule) in 2013. Tryouts are on Saturday, July 28, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Plowman’s Park, 48W508 Hinckley Road, Big Rock.

Contact Scott Swanson at (630) 768-3009 or Dennis Flanagan at (630) 391-8413.

Kaneland Travel Baseball gearing up in 2013

in Community Sports by

KANELAND—The Kaneland Travel Baseball Program, which will start in the summer of 2013, has released its tryout dates and information for the 11U, 12U, and 13U travel baseball teams that will compete in the KCBL next year, with a birthday cut-off day of May 1. Beginning with the summer of 2014, the KTB will incorporate 10U and 14U for a total of five levels of travel baseball.

The following information is for those tryouts:
Friday, July 27: 11U—4:30 to 6:30 p.m., 12U—5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 13U—6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
(all at Wheeler Park in Sugar Grove)
Friday, Aug. 3: 11U—5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 12U 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
(at Wheeler Park)
Saturday, Aug. 4: 13U—9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
(at McNair Field in Elburn)
Sunday, Aug.12: 11U, 12U, 13U 1 to 3 p.m.
(at McNair Field)

This is for anyone at any of the age levels that couldn’t make the other tryout dates. All the participants are run through the same tryout. There will be a pre-registration form posted on the Kaneland Travel Baseball website, www.kanelandtravelbaseball.com that can be printed and filled out and brought to tryouts, or a parent will need to fill one out once you arrive. These tryouts are only open to those students who will go to Kaneland High School and reside in the district. If you have any questions, contact coach Brian Aversa at Brian.Aversa@kaneland.org.

Non-wood bats still no-no

in Baseball by

INDIANAPOLIS—New language has been added to the high school baseball rules to re-emphasize that non-wood bats cannot be altered.

This additional note in Rule 1-3-2 was one of four rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 3-5 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The new note in Rule 1-3-2 is as follows: “The NFHS has been advised that certain manufacturers consider alteration, modification and ‘doctoring’ of their bats to be unlawful and subject to civil and, under certain circumstances, criminal action.”

“Not only is it a violation of NFHS baseball rules to alter a non-wood bat, this new language emphasizes that an individual could be subjected to a civil or criminal lawsuit for tampering with a bat,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and staff liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee.

Two other changes deal with the use of new technology. Rule 3-3-1f prohibits the use of video monitoring equipment for coaching purposes during the game, and Rule 3-3-1i prohibits the use of any electronic devices in the coach’s box.

“Technology has improved to the level that mobile devices can accurately video different aspects of the game, which provides an unfair advantage to a coach by replaying the footage in the dugout during the contest,” Hopkins said.

The final change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee deals with the warm-up criteria for a pitcher who replaces an ejected player during an inning. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher will be afforded the same warm-up criteria as a replacement for an injured player.

Under normal circumstances, a relief pitcher is allowed eight warm-up throws; however, the umpire may allow additional pitches because of an injury, ejection or inclement weather.

A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

Xplosion 96 goes 6-3

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LEMONT, Ill.—The Kane County Xplosion competed in the recent Chicago Metro’s Tournament, held this past weekend in Lemont, Ill., earning a top-10 finish in the 48-team field with a 6-3 overall record.

Madeline Avery hit four home runs, while Paige Kuefler, Samantha Phelps and Emma Spagnola each added a home run. Amanda Lack added two triples, and Allison Miller batted .389. Lauren Zick accounted for nine runs. Denise Gombar and McKenzie Bretag added key hits. Kaylee Hayton and Stephanie Prentice pitched for the Xplosion.

This week the girls will be back in Lemont for the Jim Dede Memorial Tournament.

KHS kids show ‘singlet’-minded focus

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland wrestlers did their part in spring yard cleanups for senior citizens in Sugar Grove in the effort to raise funds for a trip to Wisconsin for a wrestling camp. Over 280 hours were spent volunteering. Courtesy Photo

Wrestlers’ week at camp fueled by helping community
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do 28 Kaneland middle school and high school wrestlers spend four days in the Wisconsin Dells area?

By competing against fellow wrestlers from states like Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin in a team wrestling camp.

An involved week at the Malecek Wrestling Camp from June 25-28 was the final piece of a puzzle that had various levels of the Kaneland wrestling program doing good in the area as a fundraiser to send team members to the elite camp.

The wrestling staff brainstormed some ideas and the plan was announced at the winter Wrestling Banquet in March after setting a goal to send kids to a well-known camp.

According to KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns, the team volunteered 281.25 hours to the community, with an additional 111.75 hours donated by coaches and parents.

The camp featured 60 high school teams and over 900 wrestlers, but the matches, dual meets and round-robin tournaments were only part of the overall package.

In order to raise funds for the camp goal, donations for volunteer work was decided upon after the brain trust wanted to go a non-traditional route—away from discount cards and popcorn.

Area institutions like the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, the Sugar Grove Senior Center, Sugar Grove Historical Society, John Shields Elementary School, Conley Farm and Delnor Hospital received volunteer hours.

Beginning the spearheading of the project in the winter, Jahns believes it couldn’t have worked out better.

“It was great that they were able to do this, and we helped people,” Jahns said. “It taught them responsibility and got them out in the community.”

The final total of 17 wrestlers making it to the camp was the result of the very definition of a group effort. The size and scale of the volunteer effort was a new experience for volunteer coach and Knights Wrestling Club coach Bob McCaffrey.

“I have volunteered for larger organizations and have been part of other ‘traditional’ fundraisers for local sports teams,” McCaffrey said. “The most impressive thing was seeing the boys learning and understanding the impact that volunteering has on the people they were helping.”

McCaffrey also made mention of incoming senior Eddie Rodriguez, the Student Administrative Assistant of the program.

The man-hours paved the way for actual mat time featuring duals and round-robins, making for an experience well worth it.

“The competition is a measuring stick for where they boys are at and what they need to prepare for the upcoming season. By being together in the off-season they grow and learn as a team,” McCaffrey said.

Successful wrestling contingents often are only as good as their team effort. An effort on the scale of the past four months seems to bode well for the Kaneland crew.

“This was due to an outstanding effort and constant communication. It was awesome,” Jahns said.

Summer league allows Knight baseball to take stock

in Community Sports/Featured by

Photo: John Hopkins fires toward the plate during Tuesday’s summer league twinbill at Batavia High School. The Knights recovered from a 3-1 loss in the first contest to take an 8-2 win. Photo by Mike Slodki

IHSA Summer Regional begins Monday, July 16
by Mike Slodki
BATAVIA—It’s the season for local baseball players to embody the “Boys of Summer” tag.

Kaneland’s baseball program saw its season end abruptly in the Class 3A regional opener against DeKalb in late May. But beginning on June 12, Knight players expected to contribute heavily in 2013 suited up to play in summer gear.

It’s not the hard-charging atmosphere where you treat every at-bat like your last, but it is important.

The summer season consists of 26 games over a month’s time, and has a modified routine.

Games against opponents like Sycamore, DeKalb, West Aurora and Streator litter the slate, with details like amount of games and innings hammered out well beforehand.

“It’s really important in the summer for these guys who are trying to make the team,” KHS assistant coach Alex Beckmann said. “We have a really big team and it’s important for guys to get at-bats and get some innings in.”

The situation on Tuesday in Batavia had the Knights and Bulldogs clashing in a doubleheader of five innings each, and the Knights came back with an 8-2 win in game two after losing 3-1 in the opener.

Pitching assignments have anything but an aim of a complete game, but are placed to give valuable arms work. In game two, Nick Stahl worked the first inning, John Hopkins took care of the second and third, and Tom VanBogaert finished the final two frames.

Tyler Carlson, an incoming junior, blasted a two-run double in the third inning to propel the Knights over the Bulldog lineup and put the game out of reach.

“I was looking for my pitch,” Carlson said. “I found it, fortunately. The guys got on base and I got to bring them in.”

Carlson is glad for the opportunity to man groundballs at second and get his cuts in at the plate in an environment that’s relaxed, but still focus-worthy.

“Facing these pitchers, it’s a good experience for me,” Carlson said.

The summer crew hosts Batavia in a seven-inning affair on Thursday, July 12. IHSA summer regionals begin on Monday, July 16.

Thunder strikes

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Northern Illinois Thunder 16U girls won first place at the Wisconsin Sparkler USSSA State Tournament in Columbus, Wisc., over the July 1 weekend. Jessa Garcia hit seven home runs, including a grand slam, in the championship game. Kayla Kauffman and Shannen Sutherland also hit home runs during earlier games. The team consists of (front) Ellissa Eckert , Madison Hester, Courtney Thomas, (middle) Selena Kweder, Ashlyn Ebel, Abbey Etheridge, Jessa Garcia, Mackenzie Brown, (back) Coach Hester, Shannen Sutherland, Cara Smoczynski , Coach Thomas, Kayla Kauffman, Molly Jordan and Coach Perry Clark. In addition, the 12ULH girls also captured first place, 18U took second place, and the 14U-SG 3rd place. Courtesy Photo

Xplosion has successful time in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Kane County Xplosion finished 12th out of 96 teams at the Buckeye Showdown, College Exposure Tournament.

The girls played the Streamwood Magic to a 7-7 tie, beat Ohio Triple Threat 17-0 and beat Vengeance of Ohio, 4-2 . In the Super Pool opener, the Xplosion beat the Pittsburgh Spirit, 4-0, but lost to the eventual champion Ohio Madness, 2-1.

The girls will be in Lemont this weekend for the ASA Metro tournament.

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